Trust Vs Envy
Contributed by Jeremy Congdon on Apr 30, 2011 (message contributor)
Summary: We want want want and envy envy envy everything we see. Our society is all about having the next big item or the coolest little gadget. But this causes us to lose trust in God. We must put our trust in a God that provides.
Have you ever wanted something so bad that you were willing to do ANYTHING to get it? I mean you were to the point where you would sell a kidney to have this thing. When I was quite a bit younger I wanted a Playstation more than anything else in the world. A few of my friends had them and I thought they were God’s gift to mankind. I thought God sent his game console down so that we may play Crash Bandicoot 2 with Him for eternity.
Christmas was coming up also…woo hoo!! I just knew that my parents would get me a playstation because that’s what I wanted. Well I didn’t get it. I was so disappointed that I couldn’t enjoy my other gifts. I wanted what my friends had. I envied them so much that it took away from the other awesome things I had.
The passage I’m focusing on today is Psalm 37:1-7. David is writing an instructional poem on how to trust God. He is telling us not to envy those around us, especially those who do wrong.
Envy is to be jealous, it’s to be zealous, and according to James 3:16 it is the basis for almost all other sin. It says, “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”
Envy makes you power hungry, it makes you a worrier, and a workaholic, and countless other things. Is it worth it? It’s a destructive sin! But how do we get rid of it? It’s all around us. Capitalism is built on it; I want what you have. How do we fight off our envious nature? The answer in one simple sentence is this; put your trust in the God that provides.
I’m going to hit on three steps that will help build your trust in God and allow you to walk away from your envious nature.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others!
God made you unique, He made you special! There is no one else on this planet, there has never been anyone on this planet, and there will never be anyone on this planet that is exactly like you. You are special. So if we are so special why do we try so hard to be like someone else? Why do we try so hard to have the things others have? Like it says in verse 2, for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.
Do not fret because of what other people have that you don’t. They might have the fancy car, or the nice house, or the great paying job, but that doesn’t mean their heart is right with God. All that stuff is just stuff. It’s meaningless in the kingdom of heaven.
That brings me to the next part…in order to fight off your envious nature you must stop comparing yourself to others, and…
Be Grateful for What You Have
“Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.” – Harold Coffin
Don’t focus on the things you didn’t get. Just like me and my playstation. I was too focused on the thing I didn’t get that I couldn’t be happy with all the other awesome stuff I had. God had blessed me but I couldn’t see that because of my sin.
Dwight L. Moody once told the fable of an eagle who was envious of another that could fly better than he could. One day the bird saw a sportsman with a bow and arrow and said to him, “I wish you would bring down that eagle up there.” The man said he would if he had some feathers for his arrow. So the jealous eagle pulled one out of his wing. The arrow was shot, but it didn’t quite reach the rival bird because he was flying too high. The first eagle pulled out another feather, then another—until he had lost so many that he himself couldn’t fly. The archer took advantage of the situation, turned around, and killed the helpless bird. Moody made this application: if you are envious of others, the one you will hurt the most by your actions will be yourself.
We need to be content. Paul “learned” to be content. He didn’t have all the riches and fame. Instead he got the tar beat out of him, he went hungry and he was grateful for it. He was content with the things he had, but it definitely did not come easy. Guess what, it won’t be easy for us either. Until we can delight ourselves in the Lord like David tells us to do in v. 4, then it won’t be easy. But once you do, God will give you the desires of your heart. Now I don’t think that it is literal, but eventually I grew up a little and forgot about the whole playstation thing. I realized I was being an idiot about it and that I should be thankful for what I had. Then you know what happened? I got a one for my birthday that summer even though I certainly didn’t deserve it.